New Hugo Weaving Photos at The Local Bar, STC; New Turning Reviews

Note: this is an archived entry. Some links might not still work, but I have tried to ensure scan and video embeds are still in place. If any linked material is unavailable, please let me know and I'll attempt to find a copy in my personal archives.

A slightly shorter entry this time, as there's no breaking news to report. Response to multiple screenings of Tim Winton's The Turning at the Melbourne International Film Festival continues to be enthusiastically positive for the most part, with even those who didn't love every segment (or found the film too long) saying only positive things about the acting, ambition and cinematography. I'll post a few excerpts later, but first, some new photos.

As I mentioned last time, Hugo stopped by the opening of The Local Bar in Sydney last week; the establishment is co-owned by several of his friends/fellow Australian entertainment legends, including Sam Neill and David Wenham. I posted the print version of the Daily Telegraph's coverage, including a nice photo of Weaving and Wenham; since then, a digital version has become available, so I'll share that here, under the cut, along with several other photos from the event.

Hugo also attended the opening night performance of Tom Stoppard's Rosenctrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at Sydney Theatre Company and posed for a few photos. (Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton also attended; you can see an image of them in the Sydney Morning Herald's online coverage, and more at Just Jared.) The production's cast includes Hugo's past costars Ewen Leslie and Heather Mitchell, as well as "No Budget" director Christopher Stollery.  Anyone else noticing a theme of existential two-character plays at STC this season? 😉

Hugo Weaving at the opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, at STC 10 August  Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images via Zimbio

Hugo Weaving at the opening of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, at STC 10 August  Photo: Don Arnold/Getty Images via Zimbio (plus next photo)

Candids from The Local Bar's opening, 6 August 2013

Hugo Weaving and David Wenham  Photo: Richard Dobson/The Daily Telegraph

Next 3 photos: MiSociety

Recent reviews of Tim Winton's The Turning (click links for full text/original sites):

Eleanor Colla, Meanjin: "A viewing of The Turning (or more correctly Tim Winton’s The Turning, ‘the championed Australian film of 2013’) is a singular experience, and one far more enjoyable than I had anticipated… The directors were left alone to interpret their allocated stories in their own individual ways and visually recreate what they had gleaned from Winton’s stories. The result is a three-hour collection of loosely interlocking and vaguely connected vignettes, each with its own distinctive cinematic style that explore the lives of those living in the fictional sea-side town of Angelus, Western Australia, over a thirty year period. All are hauntingly beautiful and all are complete films in their own right…

The compilation is bookended by Marieka Walsh’s mesmerising sand-animation and in between we see the directorial debuts of noted Australian actors David Wenham and Mia Wasikowska. Rose Byrne plays an abused trailer-park mother finding Jesus, Hugo Weaving is an ex-alcoholic, and one story is told entirely through dance. Most of the stories focus in some way around the sometime-protagonist Victor Lang—from early childhood to well into his adult years—and the people who share his life and town…

The film demands a lot from its audience but it has good intentions and more importantly the effort it demands is deserved. Connelly and the others attached to the project should be commended for creating such a unique visual experience for viewers. Like many Australians I tend to have a degree of cynicism—deserved or not—towards our film industry, so it is welcoming to be able to support a film that not only showcases numerous strengths in Australian filmmaking, but does so in such an elegant manner."

Rochelle Siemienowicz, SBS:  "To adapt the collection into a single cinematic event, let alone with each chapter made by a different team of creators and actors, seems a grandly ambitious goal. Yet the mastermind behind the project, director and producer Robert Connolly (Balibo, The Bank), has succeeded not only in bringing together surely the largest assembly of Australian filmmaking and acting talent ever involved in a single project, but also in producing a work that maintains a remarkably consistent tone throughout – one of melancholy, regret, and longing…   That may be part of the problem – three hours is a long time to spend in the presence of such pain and ambiguity, without the swell of a forward-thrusting narrative to carry you through….

The cinematography, music, sound design and performances are uniformly excellent – and that’s not just code for ‘Australian dud’. But Connolly knows he’s asking a great deal of the audience, so he suggests we approach the film as a ‘group exhibition’… Does it work? Perhaps it’s best to give the final word to Winton himself, who writes in the program, 'Anyone mad enough to try it deserved a crack. And the result? Who can say? Not me.' He then doffs his hat – and so might we – to those who defy convention, 'in a time when filmmakers might be forgiven for simply conforming.' "

Tickets are now on sale of The Turning's's special, limited-engagement Australian run, which will include the full 3-hour, 18-episode cut and 40 page booklet, via the film's website. Still no specifics on international distribution yet, but I hope too many compromises aren't made.


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